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10 Reasons Why Every Nonprofit Must Have a Blog

Lori Halley 15 February 2008 14 comments

This post has been contributed by Lance Trebesch and Taylor Robinson from TicketPrinting.com.

Think your nonprofit organization has no need for a blog? You may want to think again. According to Technorati, more than 10,500 blogs were tagged charity, 4,000 blogs nonprofit and 2,300 blogs philanthropy in January of 2007 and these numbers are predicted to rapidly increase in the future. Below are ten reasons your nonprofit should participate in this movement and harness the power of the blog today.

1. Search engine optimization — Keywords and website design are important to search engines when calculating a search result list. A focused, well-written blog on your website will contain several keywords which improve the site's search ranking. Additionally, if the blog has useful content, other sites will want to link to it, improving your website's level of importance. To keep search engines current with your blog, remember to ping them regularly using one of the many free tools such as pingomatic. For more information on search engine optimization, read my article “Make Your Nonprofit Website a 'Hit': A 30 Day Step-By-Step Guide to Better SEO,” or one of the many articles within Search Engine Land or Search Engine News.

2. Expert in the Field — Nonprofit organizations have a wealth of information on their specific area of focus. This information is highly desired in online blogging communities. By posting regularly in blogs focused on similar issues, your organization will gain a reputation for being an expert. Bloggers want to read more postings by experts and will follow links to your organization's website. According to the March 2007 Blog Readership Report, 67.3% of bloggers found information by following links from other blogs. Technorati and BlogCatalog are good directories to find topically relevant blogs. Icerocket has also done an excellent job dissecting blogs and making them more search friendly.

3. Credibility — It is more important today than ever before for nonprofit organizations to be trustworthy in the eyes of their contributors. One of the best ways to establish this relationship of trust is to make events and projects as visible as possible. By having weekly updates on projects and the projects' successes, users will know exactly what difference their donations have made (or will make if they donate). Furthermore, project developments can be posted onto the blog keeping the organization's efforts current (Have Fun Do Good Blog.

4. Awareness — The beauty of the “blogosphere” is that almost all blogs are linked to one another. This creates a useful network of information that bloggers have access to. According to Vizu’s March 2007 Blog Readership Report, more than 30% of bloggers use blogs as a source for information. This means that with an estimated 57 million bloggers today (Technorati), more than 17 million of them are information-thirsty bloggers who desire the kind of content your nonprofit blog could provide. In addition, having a blog allows you to create your own media and bypass traditional media channels which are often expensive and limited in frequency.

5. Negative Comments — People are talking and probably writing about your nonprofit already. Hopefully, the majority of what is said is positive, but almost inevitably there will be some negative commentary. A blog provides a median to field complaints or concerns and defend the decisions the organization has made. Be sure to keep the tone of the commentaries professional and respond promptly.

6. Events — A regularly maintained blog will attract loyal readers who can easily be informed about upcoming events. To incentivize new subscribers, or to increase the loyalty of existing subscribers, consider having special promotions on the blog before events. It is important to note, however, that a blog should serve to work in conjunction with the traditional channels of marketing already in place, not to replace them.

7. Annual Report — Many nonprofits are required to compile an annual or semiannual report. By working smarter and creating a blog, you will have most of the content for the report already completed before you even begin compiling it (Have Fun Do Good Blog. Furthermore, many supporters feel that blogs are more honest and accurate than formal annual reports, so the effort required to create the content will be more cost effective.

8. Information — One of the most difficult aspects of any nonprofit is gaining an understanding of its supporters. A blog can help tap into this resource of information and more. Two major information-related benefits include:

  1. Allowing users to create — A blog encourages involvement in the organization. The AARP Issues Blog allows readers to create entries about what issues they feel are important and receive feedback from these entries.

  2. Provide information to supporters — If a picture can convey a thousand words, then a blog on your website will have a lot to say. So much of the success of a fundraising campaign (whether you like it or not) comes from its emotional appeal. By having a blog that contains pictures and stories, viewers will become more emotionally involved with the cause or service.

9. Fundraising — By using charity badges on your blog, you can get your supporters to help with fundraising efforts. A charity badge can be set up quickly and allows people to share the small graphic image you create to make donations. ChipIn and Network for Good both have charity badges available for a small fee. There are countless examples of blogging communities that have worked together to raise money using charity badges.

10. The “Heart” of the Organization — A blog gives you the unique opportunity to show the organization in a totally new light. While blogs are beneficial for marketing and fundraising purposes, their most important function should always be to convey interesting and compelling stories about the organization.

By Lance Trebesch and Taylor Robinson

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 15 February 2008 at 4:20 PM


  • Sonia Simone said:

    Friday, 15 February 2008 at 2:28 PM

    Amen! Blogs are such a useful and cheap way to get the word out and get people connected to you. They just need some passion and a little time--perfect for nonprofits.

  • Roger Carr said:

    Monday, 18 February 2008 at 3:30 AM

    This is a great article. Blogs can be a good tool for nonprofits to use that will provide numerous benefits. It could be used to foster cooperation with other organizations as well.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 21 February 2008 at 7:30 AM

    So true! Almost by definition, a blog is a low-cost and interactive public communications tool that can be easily updated without a high level of technical know-how: we can't say that about many other modes of publication!

  • Robin Reagler said:

    Friday, 22 February 2008 at 11:25 AM

    Great, post, Soha!  A must for for nonprofit pros and their boards!

  • Crystal Noble said:

    Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 3:15 PM

    Completely agreed! Blogs are fantastic tools that nonprofits of all sizes can easily leverage. But organizations do not have to create their own to get in on the action. As you pointed out, there are thousands of relevant blogs already out there. Nonprofit leaders can join in on conversations already taking place on these blogs and reap many of the benefits described above. This is a great "middle ground" approach for those who are not ready to take on the responsibility of developing and marinating their own blog, or who just want to test the waters.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Monday, 25 February 2008 at 6:56 AM

    That's a great point, Crystal. The social-networking benefits of blog-based conversations are open to all -- and if your nonprofit has a website, if not yet a blog, then putting that link in the comment form can also serve bring a bit of extra attention to your organization from other readers.

  • Juliet Wilson said:

    Wednesday, 27 February 2008 at 1:05 AM

    Excellent article, I'm trying to encourage our member organisations to blog but with little success so far, perhaps this post can  encourage them!

  • Eric said:

    Thursday, 28 February 2008 at 5:58 PM

    Successful blogs require an ongoing commitment of time, energy, and enthusiasm. An organization's leadership must be ready to support their blogger's creation of regular (weekly, if not daily), engaging content.

  • Adam Creare said:

    Monday, 03 March 2008 at 7:54 AM

    Regardless of this fact, for anyone to make a commercial success of their blog, a purchased domain is necessary. Having .blogspot.com at the will only hold it back in the future.

  • Jason Desjardins said:

    Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 10:34 AM

    I agree, I own a marketing company that works with non-profits. we help them get involved and build stories around the new media marketing tools. In an ever changing world, nonprofits need to adapt to survive. a blog is a very powerful tool to relay your story to others.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 20 March 2008 at 5:07 AM

    Terrific comments! So, fair to say that blogs can be a powerful tool for nonprofits... but the leadership really needs to understand and support the blog, knowing upfront that it's got to be a sustained commitment?

  • Wild Apricot Blog said:

    Thursday, 12 February 2009 at 8:24 AM

    The benefits of nonprofit blogging are clear. Fresh blog content can bring visitors back regularly to see what's new with your organization, actively engage your supporters in your cause, and give you a boost with search engines. But which is better -

  • Rob Marchant said:

    Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 7:46 AM
    Very informative, I have a non-profit joke website (Liquid Horse) which I'll almost certainly be creating a blog for. Thanks for the info!
  • Web Design Warwickshire said:

    Monday, 05 December 2011 at 11:22 AM
    Blogs can be powerful tools, but only if they are used correctly and most importantly kept up to date. As Eric says, a blog requires time, effort and commitment so it's worth bearing that in mind.
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